This morning, I sit in silence, listening to the rain as its steady patter hits the roof. I imagine the soft water droplets exploding after their harsh landing, scattering into the air and gutters. Free falling. The coffee is black, strong and hot, just the way that I like it. The house is still, darkened by the smoke grey clouds blanketing the sky. Only the light cast from the lamp illuminates the desk where I sit, musing on the morning. I realize how much I enjoy these quiet, melancholy mornings.
To be honest, I love grey, wet mornings. There is something beautiful about a universe that lets her world have a good cry of tears, every once in a while. It’s cathartic, as if the universe is saying, Just let go, it is what it is, let it be. A lovely cleansing of sorts, preparing us for the eventual return of sunshine and clear skies. For when it happens we will be ready to appreciate the bright changes all the more. Let some light into the darkness.
This is a baking morning. Quiet, grey, wet mornings demand an audience; they want to be treated as special guests. Turn on the oven, the warmth from within fills the kitchen. Carefully select, mix and stir the ingredients. Savor the cinnamon and vanilla. Put the darling into the oven. Blanket it in warmth for a spell. Delicious goodness awaits. A simple action that sustains. Blissful, unhurried moments on a rainy day morning.
The Lady’s Coat
Slipping the Thrift Store coat over her forearms, easing it onto her shoulders, the woman smiles as she senses the weight settling into place, cloaking her frame. Glancing into the mirror she considers her reflection, graying hair swept into a simple up do, rolled and pinned into place, the simplest of pearl studs gracing her delicate ear lobes. The woman possesses an air of simple grace and beauty, yet the coat she is wearing suggests a different, more opulent story. Enfolded within the coat, the woman recalls someone she once knew, long ago in a younger, more naïve time.
The coat, constructed of the finest Persian lamb’s wool, is exquisite, yet simple. The crossover collar frames her tired face and the sleeves with accompanying wide cuffs adorn her arms and wrists. Wrapped warmly, as though with a hug that’s luxurious and sensual, she lets her mind go. After all, this isn’t just any Thrift Store coat; this was a lady’s coat. Gazing into the mirror the woman sees reflected back the image of one once so beautiful, so once-upon-a-time naïve.
The woman imagines the stories the coat could share, if only coats could speak. Imagine the daily excursions to town, the dining out, as surely as this was once a lady’s coat. Imagine the owner, a fine lady, head held high, sashaying to church or to the shops about the city. The local butcher would have paused, eyes focused upon the vision wearing the Persian lamb coat. How may I help you, ma’am? The locals’ whispered comments, Who is this lady? A banker’s wife? Someone’s mistress?
Closing her eyes, the woman recalls distant memories, focusing on a time outside a city café. Through the window, the woman views a younger vision in a Persian lamb coat, seated in a booth at the back of the café. The dark auburn hair in a simple up do rolled and pinned into place. The eyes, cast down, the lashes as noir as the Persian lamb coat she wore. The simplest of pearl studs gracing her delicate ear lobes. The young woman possesses an air of simple grace and beauty, yet the coat she is wearing suggests a different, more opulent story.
Glancing at the watch upon her wrist, the young woman wears an expression of concern, or is it disappointment? Perhaps shame clouds the lovely features. Glancing toward the café door, she waits. Focusing on her coffee cup, slowly, gently, stirring the spirals, gazing as if into a mirror. He loves me, he loves me not, words whispered. What does the young woman see, what is she searching for? She recalls a time when she had felt hopeful, which was more than she felt at that moment, patiently waiting in a café for someone.
Surely this someone would show tonight. After all, he had promised to meet her at 5:00. Glancing at the watch upon her wrist the young woman notes the time, 5:45. Still, this man is an important man, people steal his time, and meetings run over the scheduled minutes. This fact she understands. How many times has she phoned his desk line, offering up an excuse to exit? Let’s get lost, Shirley, his words luring her further into their web of deceit. Those simple words, provocative, led her deeper into the place where lies entangle, until she became a willing victim of his terms.
The young woman in the booth glances at the watch upon her wrist. Why bother checking? Of course, he is late again. Are you ready to order, ma’am? For the waiter recognizes this woman, how could one avoid noticing such a vision, the lady wearing the exquisite Persian lamb coat? May I refill your cup, ma’am, allowing the lady time to think, to plan the next move.
The older woman can’t help but feel sympathy for this younger woman seated in the back booth, a vision in the Persian lamb coat. For whom does she wait? Is it a man, her husband, perhaps a lover? Is she the mistress? Why does she wait? The younger woman stands up, a careless wave, a slightly forced smile. The man she waits for has arrived, baring flowers, clutching a briefcase full of excuses and lies. She senses this fact, knows it to be true. Let’s get lost, Shirley!
Shirley slips the Persian lamb coat over her forearms, easing it onto her shoulders, smiling as she feels the coat settling into place, surprised at the weightlessness. Gazing at the café window, the younger woman sees reflected back the image of one so beautiful, so elegant, no longer once-upon-a-time naïve. A fine lady, head held high, Shirley walks out of the café, leaving the past behind.
May I help you, ma’am? The woman returns to the present, glancing back at her image in the Thrift Shop mirror, a vision in the Persian lamb coat. It’s a beautiful coat, a lady’s coat, the employee gushes. The lady who owned this piece must have paid a dear price for it!
Enfolded within the coat, channeling all thoughts luxurious and sensual, the woman’s mind begins to wander. After all, this wasn’t just any Thrift Store coat; this was a lady’s coat. The woman hands the ten-dollar bill with change to the cashier. Gently, she slips the Persian lamb over her forearms, easing the weight over her shoulders. She clasps the fastener of the crossover collar, noticing that one fur cuff is worn, slightly tarnishing the vision. In her ear she hears his whispered words, alluring, ensnaring, Let’s get lost, Shirley. A fine lady, head held high, the woman exits the Thrift Store, a vision in Persian lamb.
~ entry from writing contest @ writersite.org
dears, and I want to share some wisdom for obtaining and acquiring a bright, beautiful skin. Firstly, a warning lovelies~ High living and late hours will destroy the most beautiful complexion! The secret to acquiring a bright, beautiful skin is, temperance, exercise, and cleanliness! There you have it!
Wisdom gleaned from my trusty household guide,
~ The Household Guide, Home Remedies and Home Treatment, For All Diseases in Man or Beast, A Manual in Domestic Information for All Classes, Davis MD, E.B. and Jefferis PHD, M.D. , J.L. Nichols, Naperville, Ills, 1891
PS~ Between us~ my granddaughter, Grace, drinks black coffee, copious amounts of black tea, has been know to stay out late~ (once upon a time), uses retinoid creams, and on occasion, drops by the med spa, wearing a fitbit, on her wrist.
Until next time, dears!
Yours in loveliness,
This morning, I discovered a scrapbook containing snippets of poetry, phrases, and words. My Grandmother, Alice’s little bespoke Book of Words. Wise words, words to ponder, words to inspire. Words that caught her eye. I’m assuming that these words spoke to her. From the poems depicting gardens of pansies, injured birds, rolling kittens, little boys, struggles and hardships, lowly rats, and the evidence of whimsy that I recall, I have been allowed a deeper, sliver glimpse into the reflective soul of the woman I called, Grandma.
Judging by the many clips, Parenting, was a topic that caused our Alice to pause and reflect. I often wonder about the relationship that she had with her son, my father. Judging from the poems scrapped carefully into the, Book of Words, Alice, as so many mothers before and after her, was filled with a spirit of hope and promise, at times disappointment, sadness, worry, and longing. Evidence of a dear and precious love was locked in her heart.
I’d like to share this poem from my grandmother’s Book of Words, with you and I wonder if Alice was feeling some regret over family words spoken that once set free, can not be taken back. It reminds us to celebrate our children’s individuality and their successes, reminding us that success is personal and goals will and should differ. Unconditional love and meaningful praise feeds the soul and the heart.
Which Parent Are You?
I got two A’s, the small boy cried.
His voice was filled with glee.
His father very bluntly asked,
Why didn’t you get three?
Mom, I’ve got the dishes done,
The girl called from the door.
Her mother very calmly said,
Did you sweep the floor?
I’ve mowed the grass, the tall boy said,
And put the mower away.
His father asked him with a shrug,
Did you clean off the clay?
The children in the house next door
Seem happy and content.
The same things happen over there,
But this is how it went:
I got two A’s, the small boy cried.
His voice was filled with glee.
His father very proudly said, That’s great;
I’m glad you belong to me.
Mom, I’ve got the dishes done,
The girl called from the door.
Her mother smiled and softly said,
Each day I love you more.
I’ve mowed the grass, the tall boy said,
And put the mower away.
His father answered with much joy,
You’ve made my happy day.
Children deserve a little praise
For tasks they’re asked to do,
If they’re to lead a happy life,
So much depends on you.
~ Badger Legionne
Is there “junk” in your life? What kind? How do you get rid of it?
Photographers, artists, poets: show us JUNK.
A clean and tidy house calms me, assures that all is right with my world. Clean as in floors washed, dishes scrubbed, trash contained and clean as in visually calm and pleasing to the eye, everything in its place, ship-shape, serene. There is an order to the spaces and pieces in my home, purposely placed to show their function, use, or aesthetic beauty. Artful placement. Nothing mumble jumble. It has always been this way for me, a comfort comes in knowing and visualizing where everything is and why it is. Addicted to order and beauty, addicted to calm. I fear chaos.
I am addicted to order and beauty yet I can not pass by that one-off chair sitting by the curb, discarded, worse for wear. I can see possibilities and beauty. A project. Junk to you, treasure to me. Lately, I am drawn to shades of blues and greys, reminiscent of oceans and skies, the shades changing with the hour and the light. Moody shades. Addicted to shape. I touch all that is round, smooth, and cool. Rocks, chestnuts, shells, pottery bowls, and glass are heaven in my hands. Lately, I am addicted to words, those prolific, simple quotes that complete a thought. I selectively search them out, books, notecards, posters, pillows, words grace my space. Junk to you, treasure to me.
Junk challenges and over the years I have attempted to deal with that aspect in my life. Recycling when I can, discarding if I must, choosing with a selective eye, finding a home for each item, or walking away. When I see an item of beauty, it is the history that captivates me, the memories evoked, the stories. I am addicted to the stories that the pieces whisper forth as they sit in the thrift shop, or beside the curb. Sometimes, I falter and bring them along home, lovingly restoring and coaxing new life to the damaged shapes. Finding a place for the old. Junk to you, treasure to me.
Junk can clutter a home; it can clutter a life. Lately, I have decided to deal with the debris in my soul, sweeping it off and dusting over the scratches. Polishing up the shabbier pieces, illuminating the beauty and shine, finding my voice. It requires one to be brave, take a risk. It is difficult to let go and scatter the broken bits, the memories we frantically cling to. Some of these memories will find a place in a story, some banished, others will be forgiven, planting the seeds of hope and promise. Junk to you, treasure to me.
Oh~ and I will purposely leave a cup out-of-place. I will walk away.
There comes a time when you realize that some matters can’t be figured out, that over thinking a situation is futile, answers aren’t forthcoming. Sometimes you just have to listen to your heart. Thus, it came to me. I decided to change the story. The one that I had lived, the one that I had told myself for far too long. I decided to build a bridge to Promise. Not that I didn’t ever try. Previously, I constructed a ramp. Before that, another attempt, many attempts, in fact. Always, my efforts created a temporary, precarious structure that offered an opportunity to cross over to a hopeful promise, from the abyss to solid, level ground, to the promise of belonging, the promise of forgiveness. Always, I would start the precarious journey, gingerly stepping away from the safety of the zone I had created. Always, I would make it to the half waypoint where I would falter, afraid to push on. The voices whispering, Go back. I would listen. First came fear, stealthily overtaking my head, moving downward to tangle my heart, finally paralyzing my movements, until my body ached to return to the safety of the land called, Limbo, the place where action isn’t required, where one waits until another day, a maybe later place. A place where indecision becomes a comfortable existence. Where we take missed opportunities to the grave. Where I wait for you to offer your hand.
Limbo Land is a dangerous place to exist. Within the walls, too much thinking occurs, not enough action. Limbo time fools one into believing that there is always enough of it. Maybe later is the brand chosen to announce this place. Someone is wrong, I am right, maybe later, are the mantras. Individuals walk around smiling, holes in their souls, constantly seeking to fill themselves up with anything, anything that numbs the pain and allows one to accept, maybe later. It is a land that allows reflection time. Just be aware, it does not require one to take action. After all, actions speak louder than words. You can exist in Limbo Land; you just can’t live there. Fear is the ruler and like a despot, Fear will always silence that seedling voice inside of you, the one that whispers, What if? Maybe now? Stay awhile, just be aware nothing is ever accomplished and nothing will ever improve when you are lounging in this joyless place.
Perhaps, the saddest souls inhabiting Limbo are the drifters, ones that have turned their backs on one another, so-called, family. Ones connected by similar DNA, shared blood lines, mothers and fathers, brothers and sisters. Our sisters and brothers, our mothers and fathers. What on earth is worth more than those sacred relationships? We cry the same tears. Doors close, wars rage on. In the silence of the night, as we prepare to sleep, do we find a quiet calm? Or do we mourn for an open door, acceptance, forgiveness, and restored peace in our world? We are all connected and when one link of the chain breaks, we are each weakened by the snap. Forgive, reach out, come back, are the sorrowful, yet, hopeful words that whisper from beyond Limbo. Be still and listen, you will hear the whispers on the back of the winds that blow across the deep abyss that separates Limbo from Promise. Perhaps you will hear my voice. I sit beneath the stars and pray. Maybe later.
We have waited long enough. Sometimes you just have to listen to your heart.
I’ve been testing my wings. Writer and Educator, Luanne, from the blog, Writer Site, recently hosted a writing contest. The story entries will be posted on Luanne’s site, writersite.org throughout the week. My story, The Lady’s Coat, is posted today! Please take some time to read the judged entries. Writers can appreciate the process of writing and the brave spirit necessary to “publish” one’s “darlings!” A special “thank you” to Luanne and the esteemed judges,
Wilma Kahn has an MA in English and an MFA in Creative Writing from Western Michigan University, as well as a Doctor of Arts in English from SUNY-Albany. She is the published author of poems, short stories, essays, and a detective novel, Big Black Hole. Wilma has led writing classes for adults in Kalamazoo County, Michigan, since 1987. In her spare time she tends a little wildflower garden with ironweed seven feet tall.
Kimberly Keating Wohlford is a writer in Charlotte, NC where she free-lances for the arts community. In 2011, she left an established career in newspaper advertising, to pursue a dream to write her own stories. Kimberly is currently working on a memoir that follows her journey to Glastonbury, England where magical things happen to redirect her path in life. She will receive a certificate in creative writing from Stanford in March 2014.
for offering this exciting opportunity to the writing community. With my amazon.com award, I have ordered a hard cover version of the Newbery Medal Winner, Where The Mountain Meets the Moon, by Grace Lin http://gracelin.com/. I chose a hardcover, paper to touch book as a gift for my “dear” one and my hope is that she will treasure this gift through time. I want my dear to enjoy print and words as much as I do. Follow your dreams!
My entry, The Lady’s Coat, is posted onto writersite.org
I hope you enjoy, The Lady’s Coat.
There were several strong women in my mother’s life. These women had to own strength, nursing children through illness, caring for large broods of children, struggling together during hard times. They knew hardship and they knew the collective power of bonding together. Their strong circle of support formed around another family in need. This time it was my mother’s family. These women made a pivotal and positive difference finding order from chaos. It was their simple acts of kindness and commitment that pulled my mother through one of the darkest of memories. My mother’s, mother passed on, when my mother was a mere nine years old. These were difficult and sad times for all. A distraught father, an infant in tow, created a perfect storm for chaos. There was a need for order, established routines, and a desperate ache for love and acts of kindness. These women, laid aside their differences and lives to circle around a family in need. They stepped in and offered up simple acts of kindness through gifts of time and love.
My great-grandmother was among the first to arrive. Still grieving the loss of her daughter, great-grandmother filled the role of mothering her daughter’s child. My mother fondly remembers her grandmother and their lovely visits together. This woman would read tea leaves and she read my mother’s with conviction and optimism, the sun will shine for you, dear. Every evening when the sun set, great-grandmother would pick up her daughter’s silver-handled brush from the nightstand and brush my mother’s hair. Great-grandmother would sing as she softly brushed away the sadness that clung in the little girl’s mind. Tucking my mother under the covers, great-grandmother would recite a prayer. My mother believes that this simple, repetitive act soothed and eased her pain. My great grandmother’s loving touch, strong faith, and the simple action of methodically brushing hair comforted, instilling calm and hope into a little child’s broken heart. Their time together would be brief.
Another woman of strength was a childless, flamboyant Auntie who would pick my mother up from the city house and take her off for a weekend stay. My mother, seated in a sidecar, would ride to the Auntie’s with Uncle Monty steering the wheel of his motor cycle. Clamouring up the stairs, my mother would wait for Monty to enact the magical act of pulling a bed out of the wall. With a flourish and a wave of hand, Monty would drop the Murphy Bed. Auntie and Uncle Monty’s zest and zeal, their laughter and joy of life returned some of the enchantment, sparking the light that had dimmed in a nine-year old child’s world.
There were the cheerful Aunties that arrived with casseroles in hand. Bustling through the kitchen, they could set and place a satisfying, home cooked meal on the table in next to no time. There was warm food to eat, manners to model, grace and conversation shared, all served up, spiced with shakes of laughter. The Aunties demonstrated that dining together was more than just the sharing of a meal at the table. It was about the circle of family that surrounded, concerned for another. This protective element returned a sense of family and love into a young child’s grayed life.
I share this story as a reminder to look about and discover how a simple action can begin to heal, threading joy, order, and laughter back into someone else’s life. When you share a small piece of your heart, the simple actions set forth, rolling on throughout time, mending and patching and healing others. Share a small piece of yourself with someone in need. You won’t need to look too far to find that someone and you won’t need to spend much money to bring joy to another.
Alice ‘s treasured parti-colored cat, Topsy, would sun on the stone path that wove around the pansy garden. Toffee markings with a touch of chocolate, black around the paws, Topsy was a fine specimen of cat. A bit of a tortie, Topsy was the exception to the rule that parti-colored cats were usually female. A bit of a Tom, Topsy ruled the lane ways in search of a feline to prance around cat town. Oh, the stories he could tell. Perhaps he shall.
A giant specimen of cat, Topsy would guard the back door, much like a sentry. One eye open just enough to take a peek, the other ignoring the world. A flick of the tail, thud, thud, thud. Counting the seconds of time, waiting to pounce on an unsuspecting bee or bird. Perhaps, a mouse or rat?
A fine mouser, Topsy ‘s whiskers knew every nook and every cranny of the small house from the dank, darkness of the crawl space to the clutter of the knick knacks that adorned his mistress’ home. Just the sound of her voice and old Topsy came a running. There was always food~ a tidbit or two from the tabletop. Perhaps a touch of salmon?
Topsy was King of the Place and he lorded rank over the creatures that frequented the pansy garden. Even the dog in the neighbouring yard knew better than to mess around with Topsy. After all, one should never underestimate Topsy’s scratch.
Such an unusual name~ Topsy! Who names their pet, Topsy? Why not, Prince or King Leo? Those are fine names, fit for the likes of a calico mix. A calico like myself. A fine mouser. A loyal pet for dear, simple, Alice. After all, my ancestors herald from Spain. Spanish royalty, symbol of good luck. Perhaps a talisman for Alice?
Topsy contemplated these questions as he lay sunning himself on the stones that wove around the pansy garden. There was much to watch as he noted the comings and goings from house to house. The stories I could share, thought Topsy. People are such fools; they assume that no one is watching, no one sees their deceptive ways. Who is this child that watches me, shying away from my stare?”
When I met Topsy, he was older and wiser with many stories to tell, pleased to inform you that he shared quite a few. You might be surprised at the information I have. Perhaps, I shall share. A tid bit or two.
I regret to inform you that Topsy’s final days on earth were disconcerting, filled with struggle, hardship. Unable to stand, Topsy literally became his namesake. Many a day, I would right him off the ground, until one day it was all too much for Topsy.
Topsy is in Heaven above and Alice has joined him. They are happy to be reunited. After all, they were loyal friends and comrades, traveling side by side since the beginnings of time. Topsy continues to lie on the stone path that weaves around the pansy garden. Topsy keeps one eye open, just enough to take a peek, however, don’t be fooled into thinking that he isn’t watching the comings and goings. Oh, the stories he could tell. Perhaps he shall.
There is a stray Manx that has appeared just outside my garden gate, sleeping, one eye open, just enough to take a peek, on the stone path that winds through the roses. A bit of a tortie, this stealthy beauty appeared one winter’s morn and has returned nearly every evening since. It has been several years. Hidden under the hedge, the cat waits for my return, rolling over to greet, snuggling up to meet. It waits like a sentry, guarding my home. Is it a sign from Alice? A reminder, she is watching from the heavens above, a symbol of good luck? I have no answer to your comments yet I sense a presence watching the comings and goings of the house, gathering up stories to tell. Perhaps we shall.
Hello~ it’s Alice
Cheerio, Darlings! It’s Alice peeking through the clouds of Heaven. As summer winds down I felt it timely to share a wee bit of Alice Wisdom with you. Soon the chills will be upon us and we must have a plan to fortify the home and its members!
No home should be without honey and pure fruit juices. A spoonful of home honey every morning helps to fortify your defenses. Use the fruit juices to prepare hot drinks for colds and chills. Black currant is best, dears! They must be pure juices.
Finally, have a wee tot of whiskey in the house, love. A teaspoonful in a toddy is a grand pick-me-up when you come in chilled to the bone! Adults only, dears!
Now, Mother have a look in the medicine cabinet and make sure that you are prepared!
Until next time,